At Four Seasons Dental, we are well-equipped to diagnose and treat a wide variety of dental health problems. This has made us one of the most trusted dental care centers serving the greater Pittsburgh area. Customized care is of particular importance when it comes to TMJ therapy, which addresses various structures of the jaw joint. Since many patients have misunderstandings about the nature of TMJ disorders, we'd like to go over some basics with regard to its symptoms, causes, and treatments.
About the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located in the juncture where the mandible meets the skull. It is one of the most complicated joints in the human body given the various hard and soft tissues in this part of the head/face and the joint movements necessary to bite, chew, speak, and make facial expression.
What is a TMJ disorder?
A TMJ disorder refers to various dysfunctions and problems that are related to the normal function of the jaw joint. Many people refer to TMJ disorders simply as TMJ, or sometimes as TMD. If you suffer from a TMJ disorder, you'll notice changes in the movement and range of motion in your jaw.
Popping, Clicking, Crunching, etc.
The most common symptoms that people notice with TMJ disorders are weird sounds and sensations coming from their jaw. When yawning, speaking, or chewing, people with TMJ disorders often complain or popping or clicking of the jaw joint, which is a sign that the structures are not in sync and that something is wrong.
Jaw Pain and Other Kinds of Facial/Cranial Pain
Another common sign of TMJ disorders is pain in the jaw joint or in other parts of the face and skull. Pain in the ear area, the neck, the temples, and general headaches are all common for people who suffer from TMJ disorders. Tooth pain and gum pain is not out of the ordinary either. Yawning or laughing, which means the mouth is opened wider, may hurt as well.
Limited Jaw Movement
When a TMJ disorder occurs, it's not uncommon for the jaw to lock or be restricted in terms of its full range of motion. A number of people may find it difficult to open their mouths fully, or may notice locking of the jaw when try to speak or yawn.
Common Causes of TMJ Disorders
Given the above, you may be wondering what causes TMJ disorders to occur. There are actually many factors or combinations of factors at play. These include:
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Injury to the jaw
- Long-term wear and tear
- Repetitive stress on the jaw joint
Treatment Options for TMJ Disorders
There are numerous treatment options available for TMJ disorders, and the best one for the patient will need to be tailored to his or her needs. If the TMJ disorder is the result of teeth grinding, for instance, stress management techniques and/or the use of a night guard will be helpful for addressing the symptoms and the cause of the condition. For arthritis, jaw injuries, and other kinds of causes, more invasive therapies and perhaps even surgery may be considered.
During your consultation with our team, we will be more than happy to work with you and help you undergo the treatment you need that properly addresses your condition.
Contact Four Seasons Dental for More Information
For more information about treating TMJ disorders and how we can help you have a smile that is healthy and beautiful, be sure to contact our family dental care centers today. At Four Seasons Dental, we will work closely with you to ensure you receive the treatment that you need to have the best smile possible.